The Pilot Project Program of the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) of the Montefiore Einstein Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR) invites all Montefiore Einstein faculty to apply for pilot funding to support Translational Science (TS) projects.
The pilot program supports:
- Generation of preliminary data to refine research strategies, demonstrate study feasibility and establish proof of concept to support subsequent extramural grant applications of projects in translational science.
- Early-stage development of new research methodology and/or new therapy/ technologies/tools/ resources with generalizable application to an identified translational roadblock that will advance translational science and thus increase the efficiency and effectiveness of translation.
Projects supported by this program address a translational roadblock and meet the definition of translational science research. The National Center for Advancing Translational Science (NCATS) at NIH defines:
- ‘Translation’ as the process of turning observations in the laboratory, clinic and community into interventions that improve the health of individuals and communities – from diagnostics, preventions, and treatments to medical procedures and behavioral changes.
- ‘Translational research’ as the endeavor to traverse a particular step of the translational process for a particular target or disease.
- ‘Translational science’ (TS) is the field of investigation focused on understanding the scientific and operational principles underlying each step of the translational process.
Whereas translational research focuses on the specific case of a target or disease, translational science is “disease universal” because it focuses on the scientific and operational bottlenecks that are common to translational research for most or all diseases. A key tenet of TS is to understand common causes of inefficiency and failure in translational research projects with the goal of developing generalizable principles to accelerate translational research (e.g., incorrect predictions of the toxicity or efficacy of new drugs, lack of data interoperability, ineffective clinical trial recruitment). You can learn more about TS research here.
Translational research projects, i.e., projects focused on crossing a particular step of the translational process for a particular target or disease, do not qualify for funding under this program.
Funding: Awards are for one year, up to $40,000 direct cost. Funds may be used for non-faculty salary support (research staff, lab tech, study coordinator, etc.). Funds may not be used for faculty salary support. Awarded funds must be expended by the closing date of the CTSA grant year. For funded projects, NIH required documentation must be submitted prior to award start date. IRB or IACUC approval must be obtained prior to project start date.
Eligibility: Faculty only. One proposal may be submitted per faculty member. Any faculty member who has a current grant with overlapping aims is not eligible to apply. The CTS Pilot Program strongly encourage proposals that involve:
- Collaborations among clinical, translational and basic scientists.
- Established investigators exploring innovative new leads or directions in TS.
- Investigators from other areas to lend their expertise in research in TS.
For the application to be considered, the PI(s) MUST have a 1:1 consultation with the ICTR Pilot Program Directors or attend the TS Town Hall meeting prior to submission to ensure that the research topic meets the definition of TS.
- To schedule a consultation with the Pilot Program Directors, please contact Sofiya Milman, MD (email@example.com) or Sylvia Suadicani, PhD (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- To attend the Translational Science Town Hall meeting on December 5th, 2023, please register here. The meeting will be held in person, on the Einstein Campus, Price Center, Room 551. Lunch will be served. Zoom link available upon request.
Timeline: Proposals are due on January 31st 2024, 5 pm ET. Award notifications will be sent by end of February 2024. Earliest anticipated start date March-April 2024 (Note: awards cannot start until all pre-award required documentation is provided, see below).
Application Information: The Applicant’s information and the pilot project proposal should be submitted using the online submission portal (https://einsteinmed-6619.app451.sites.451.io/). If required, IRB or IACUC approval MUST be obtained or be pending at the time of application. Proposals should contain the following components:
- Title and Abstract (500 words maximum) of the proposed project.
- Project proposal (3 pages maximum) containing the following sections, Background, Significance, Specific Aims, and Approach, and description of:
- The translational barrier(s) / roadblock(s) that will be addressed.
- Expected generalizability of study outcomes (i.e., to other disease areas, patient cohorts, etc).
- Future directions and long-term impact.
- Principal Investigator (PI) and other key personnel NIH biosketches.
- PI and key personnel other research support (in NIH format).
- Budget justification and itemized budget (use NIH PHS 398 form).
Review Criteria: Proposals will be reviewed based on (1) scientific merit; (2) suitability as a pilot study; (3) feasibility; (4) significance; (5) novelty; (6) generalizability; (7) likelihood to lead to external funding, and (8) investigator qualifications. Investigators and researchers for whom TS represents a new direction will also be given priority. Novelty and risk-taking with potential for major scientific advancement in TS will also be given consideration during the review process.
Pre-Award Documentation: Applicants selected for CTS Pilot Project funding must submit all the required pre-award documentation requested in the online pre-award submission portal. These include the required NIH documentation attesting study compliance with human or animal subject protections (IRB or IACUC approval, respectively), and use of genetic material and stem cells, if applicable. Delay in providing this documentation will also delay the project’s start date, which may impact the project performance as funds must be used before the closing date of the CTSA grant year, March 30, 2024.
All applicants are encouraged to contact the ICTR Administrative Director, Ms. Elizabeth Castro (email@example.com) at 845-494-5066, to make sure that all the NIH required documentation is prepared in advance of funding date (including IRB or IACUC review of the proposed research and approval). This ensures that if your project is approved for funding, your award notice will be issued on time for project performance and use of funds before the closing date of the CTSA grant year.
Translational Science Town Hall
Register to attend the Translational Science Town Hall meeting on December 5th, 2023 here. The meeting will be held in person, on the Einstein Campus, Price Center, Room 551. Lunch will be served. Zoom link available upon request.
Gaetano Santulli, MD, PhD
Overcoming a Long-Standing Translational Barrier in Stem Cell Research
Current strategies in human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC) technology allow to obtain mostly immature cells with embryonic features. Dr. Santulli’s project aims to optimize the development of hiPSC into mature differentiated cells in order to accelerate the use of these cells in translational research.
Jean Hebert, PhD
A General Cell-Based Approach for Overcoming the Blood-Brain-Barrier to Treat Brain Diseases
The use of protein and peptide therapeutics for brain diseases is limited due to their general inability to cross the blood-brain-barrier. Dr. Hebert’s project is focused on developing a minimally invasive method for delivery of protein-based therapeutics to the brain.
Simon Spivack, MD
Cough Capture as a Portal into the Lung
A major roadblock in human lung research is the inability to sample the lung in a non-invasive manner. Dr. Spivack’s project aims to develop a method to capture DNA and proteins in cough that can serve as a surrogate of the deep lung environment.
Past Recipients of Pilot Project Awards
Nov 02, 2020
Apr 26, 2022
Sept 24, 2021
Jun 29, 2021
May 10, 2022